You vs. The Written Word

Do you participate in any reading challenges?  I discovered my first reading challenge with Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge, and I was hooked.  For 2016, I started my own Facebook reading challenge page.  Several friends are participating with me, and I have 7 selections to go between the two lists.  I love how reading challenges force you to pick books you would not normally choose.  The best books that I have read this year are:

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom (mentioned in my last postImage result for the magic strings of frankie presto

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty Image result for big little lies moriarty

Humans of New York:  Stories by Brandon Stanton Image result for humans of new york: stories

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Image result for all the bright places

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton Image result for the strange and beautiful sorrows of ava

Picking Cotton:  Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Canino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Torneo Image result for picking cotton our memoir

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Image result for the rosie project

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro Image result for the perfume collector

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom Image result for tuesdays with morrie

These have earned the distinction of “best” because I rated them 5 stars on Goodreads.  I know these ratings are subjective.  I often look back on ratings and wonder why I gave a book the number of stars that I did.  Mood seems to have a lot to do with it.  Regardless, I recommend all of the above to anyone searching for their next read.

I have always wanted to be an author.  I enjoyed writing as a child and was quite good at it.  God preserves gifts used for His glory, which is why my writing skills have declined over the years.  They say it’s never too late to pursue your dreams, so maybe one day I’ll shock everyone and publish something.  I used to joke with my friends that my first book would be a collection of things you hear parents say.  The one that sticks out most prominently in my mind is “Don’t drink the bath water, Gage!”  I’m not sure if this is because it is so cringe-worthy or if it is because it brings to mind very clearly the memory of what bath water tastes like from my own curious childhood.  I’m very disappointed in myself for not keeping up with these gems in a notebook.  Another parental admonition that comes to mind is “Why are you chewing your toenails?”  This one comes from my own mother and was directed at me.  Yeah.  I was a weird one.

I am working on the 2017 Reading Challenge for my page.  I will share it on here and hope that you will join me!  Happy reading!

Peace and bacon grease.

Song of the Day:

Down the Burning Ropes by James Vincent McMorrow


Recipe of the Day:

Chorizo and Jalapeno Breakfast Pizza

by The Homesick Texan

Ingredients for the crust:
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 Tbsp cold butter
6 Tbsp half and half or whole milk

Ingredients for the pizza:
2 oz Mexican chorizo, removed from its casing
4 lg eggs
2 Tbsp half and half or whole milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch kosher salt
1 jalapeño, seeded, stemmed, and diced
1/4 sm red onion, finely diced
1 c (4 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Cilantro leaves, Pico de gallo, avocado slices, and/or crumbled Cotija, for garnishing

Heat the oven to 425°F.  Lightly grease a 9″ skillet.

For the crust, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut the cold butter into cubes and then add to the flour. Working quickly with your hands, work the butter into the dough until the dough is crumbly. Pour in the half and half and stir until everything has come together and a shaggy dough is formed.

Pat the dough out evenly into the skillet.  Don’t work the dough up the sides—leave it just on the bottom.  Poke the dough with a fork about 4-5 times, and place the dough into the oven. Cook it uncovered for 5 minutes then remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet to medium-low heat. Add the chorizo and while occasionally stirring, cook for 5 minutes or until it changes from a bright red to a more brownish red. Leaving on the skillet, remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and place it in a bowl. (It’s okay if there is some chorizo grease in the skillet, as this adds flavor. If there is an excess of grease, however, feel free to drain and discard it.)

Add to the skillet the butter. Whisk together the eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper. When the butter has melted, pour in the eggs. Let them sit for 1 minute then add the chorizo back into the skillet and gently stir until they are loosely set. Taste the eggs with the chorizo and add a pinch of salt if you think it needs it.

Turn off the heat and then spoon the eggs out of the skillet and spread evenly onto the partially baked pizza crust.

Top the eggs evenly with the cheese, then top the cheese evenly with the onions and jalapeños. Return the pizza to the oven and cook uncovered for 8 to 10 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and the crust is lightly browned.

Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle fresh cilantro leaves over the baked pizza. If you like, serve each slice topped with pico de gallo, avocado slices, and/or crumbled Cotija cheese.

Book of the day:

Back of Beyond by CJ Box

Image result for back of beyond cj box

I just finished this one this morning.  It is the first of the Cody Hoyt series.  It was okay.  It’s the typical rogue cop story–bad ass who doesn’t follow the rules, is hated by just about everyone, and who saves the day just in the nick of time.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love this type of book.  But, it only earned 3 stars on Goodreads.  Good, but not to-die-for good.  I will probably read more Cody Hoyt books in the future.


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