Daily Prompt: Pungent

via Daily Prompt: Pungent

Yesterday we hosted about 30 of my in-laws for a late Thanksgiving dinner.  It was a much smaller crowd than we anticipated.  And, it was a very pleasant day.  Hosting anything at my house always makes me nervous, but usually my nerves aren’t justified.  It was wonderful to sit back and listen to everyone laugh and visit and play.  The Hubs got out there with children 1/3 of his age and played touch football for hours.  He is such a big kid at heart.  Overall, it was a truly wonderful day.

One of our contributions to the meal was an extremely pungent Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie.  I’m not sure why I was so surprised by how strong the alcohol flavor was, but it just about took my breath away.  With the first bite, you could feel your nose hairs burning and your tongue numbing.  Strangely enough though, it got better with each bite!  Ha!  You could tell throughout the day when someone went after a piece by listening for the obligatory “whoa!” and cough.  I still call it a success since only a sliver of a piece remained when the crowd cleared.

On a completely (and arguably conflicting) note, I heard from a cousin of mine today that I seldom hear from.  She wrote me to ask if there was anything she could pray for me about.  I am always floored when people reach out like that.  It melted my heart.  Truly.  Even more so because of the journey that she has traveled in her life.  She went from being an extremely troubled teen to a young woman who plans on going into ministry and whose wisdom exceeds her years.  I could not be more proud of her nor more welcoming of her offers of prayer.

Well, back to work once again tomorrow.  Here’s hoping my body can keep its crap together for an entire week!  I hope you all have a blessed week, too!  I saw an inappropriate yet inspiring sentiment written by a 10-year-old a couple of weeks ago and typed it up and hung it up in mine and two co-workers’ office walls last week.  “Kick today in the lady balls!”  That is my wish for you.  Go out there and do your best to be your best!

Peace and lady balls grease!

Recipe of the day:

That overly pungent Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie via http://www.afamilyfeast.com

This pie is best when it is made a day ahead so that it has time to cool and fully set. Once cooled, wrap with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until served and refrigerate remaining pieces.
Ingredients
  • 1 9-inch pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a deep dish pie plate with the pie crust, set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until butter melts and sugar completely dissolves. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, combine egg, bourbon, vanilla and salt. Mix thoroughly. Very slowly pour cooled sugar mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the heat from the sugar mixture doesn’t cook the egg mixture. Add the chocolate chips and pecans and stir to mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until set and golden on top.
  5. Serve warm or chilled.

Song of the Day:

Come Home by OneRepublic  This song has some of my favorite lyrics ever:

“I get lost in the beauty of everything I see.  The world ain’t half as bad as they paint it to be…”

Book of the Day:

Image result for everything everything nicola yoon

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon.  This is the story of a girl who has spent the majority of her life trapped in her house due to an extremely rare and dangerous medical condition.  I have a thing for YA fiction, and books like this are why.  5 stars on Goodreads.

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You Make Me Grinchy

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone survived with their zippers and family relationships intact.  We haven’t celebrated yet.  In fact, I had a bag of gummy worms for lunch yesterday….  The Hubs’ family will gather on Saturday.  I had to cancel the planned gathering with my family yesterday because I am once again on bed rest.  Sigh…..  I feel so bad for The Hubs.  He is left with taking care of absolutely everything while I watch from the couch feeling like a useless slug.  After this is all over with, I would love to put him on an airplane and send him off to see his northern family for some r&r away from my needy self and this house.  Maybe I will find a way to do just that.

Well, now that Thanksgiving is over, we can roll right on into Christmas.  Again with a big sigh……  I know I come off as perpetually bitter and down in these posts.  I swear I’m not that way all of the time!  I just really dislike this time of year.  It is all so commercialized that it makes me ill to the very pit of my stomach.  Christmas is supposed to be about celebrating the birth of Christ.  I don’t think it could be any further from that now.  Of course, in many places you can’t even say “Merry Christmas” without totally offending someone.  **insert eye roll**  Things have gotten so bad with some members of our family that they actually have the audacity to call us and tell us what they want us to buy them for Christmas.  The level of rudeness and greediness astounds me.  Last year, The Hubs and I didn’t buy anything for anyone, packed a bag, and slipped off to the Gaylord Texan without telling anyone.  It was probably the best Christmas we’ve had in ages.  No pressure to buy gifts for people we only see once a year.  No pressure to cook dinner for 50 people.  No nothing but the two of us, peace in quiet away from all of the nonsense and drama, and the Gaylord’s annual ICE event.  We ignored our phones and just absolutely shut out the world.  It was wonderful.  I swear that I do want to celebrate Jesus.  I truly believe that He did live on earth as a man.  I truly do believe that He gave His life for us.  I just do not believe much in participating in the removal of religion from the holiday and pumping hundreds or thousands of dollars into buying crap for ungrateful little brats.  🙂  Call my a tyrant, if you will.  And, yes.  Perhaps I could better help the cause by volunteering somewhere or spending money on those in need.  That may be my holiday goal this year.

Regardless, ’tis the season!  I hope all of you (all two of you) have a blessed Thanksgiving/Christmas season.  I hope everyone keeps God in their hearts.  And, I hope you all renew relationships, share the love, and realize how blessed and fortunate you are.

Peace and turkey grease!

Recipe of the day:

If you’re looking for a way to use up all that leftover Thanksgiving ham and mashed potatoes, I have just the recipe for you!

Cheddar Mashed Potato and Ham Bake via http://www.southernfood.com.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 c sliced celery
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 3 c diced leftover ham
  • 1 can (10 1/2 oz) cream of celery soup
  • 1/2 c milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4-5 c leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1/2 c milk (I prefer to use 1/4 c here)
  • 1/2 c chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 6 oz shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

Directions:

  • Butter a 2 1/2-3 qt baking dish.  Heat oven to 350.
  • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the celery and onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion in translucent.  Add ham and continue cooking until ham is lightly browned.  Stir in soup, 1/2 c milk, and salt and pepper.
  • If the mashed potatoes are cold, warm them to make them easier to mix.  Whisk together the eggs, milk, green onion, and parsley and add to potatoes.  Reserve about 1/3 c of cheese for topping, and add the rest to the potato mixture.
  • Spoon the ham mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Spread the potato mixture over the ham mixture and top with the reserved cheese.  Season with a bit of freshly ground pepper.  Bake for about 40-50 minutes until lightly browned.

Song of the Day:

Sail by AWOLNATION.  I’m posting the unofficial video because it makes me laugh.  🙂

Book of the Day:

Image result for water for elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  Man I loved this book.  It’s the classic having-nothing-and-going-through-hardships-and-coming-out-on-the-other-side-to-get-the-girl-and-have-a-happy-life story.

That Time I Died

Good morning to all 2 of my readers!  How are y’all?  I am in a pretty darn good mood.  Tomorrow I get to go see my doctor for my 2-week follow-up and hopefully be released from my confinement.  I am beyond ready to get back to my normal ol’ life.  I am ready to be able to drive.  I am ready to be able to get up and do whatever just because I want to.  Hell, I’m even ready to be able to do laundry again.

I had another strange dream last night.  Bizarre dreams are the norm, but I can’t always remember them.  I remember this one because it is a recurring dream.  I’ve had it at least twice before.  I and a few friends and family are at a combination fair/flea market type place.  Instead of shopping, you are handed a scavenger hunt list.  The fair/flea market is in one extremely long rectangular shaped building that just goes from one room to the next to the next to the next to the next……each room being a different shop owned by a different person and selling different wares.  You must maneuver from room to room marking objects off of your list.  And not all are physical objects.  One item from my list last night was to get the lady who sells umbrellas to tell you a story.  The recurring part is that one list item is to find your own headstone.  Yes, there is a shop that contains headstones.  They don’t sell them.  It’s more like a library or an index.  If you have a headstone in there with your name on it, you have died at some point in your life.  And, I knew from previous visits to the shop that I had a headstone in there….you know….from that time I died when I was 16.  Last night, a friend and I were making our way through our lists, and I started digging in the piles for my headstone.  She looked at me like I was crazy, but I knew it was there.  When I found my stone and showed it to her, she asked me if I was okay.  I shrugged and told her that I didn’t guess I was since I had died.  This all seemed very logical.  I marked the item off of my list, and we continued on our way.

Well, I guess I’ll get this day started.  Bad TV, eye roll-inducing political Facebook posts, my Kindle, the dishes, and a nap or two.  I simply cannot contain my excitement.  Y’all have a blessed day!

Peace and tombstone grease.

Song of the day:

Holding On To You by twenty one pilots.  This is the song that turned me on to twenty one pilots.  They friggin’ rock.  I love their quirky, yet thoughtful lyrics and their beats that make you want to shake it.  This is no longer my favorite song of theirs, but I will always love it.

Recipe of the day:

Honey Garlic Butter Shrimp in Coconut Milk with Fried Plantains via http://www.halfbakedharvest.com

I came across this recipe one day when I was craving something with coconut milk.  It is insane.  It is probably one of the best recipes I have ever tried.  I had zero experience with plantains when I made it and was fortunate enough to get ones that weren’t very ripe.  The second time I made this recipe, I got ones that were very ripe and soft and sweet, and it just wasn’t the same.  I highly recommend getting not-so-ripe plantains.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound raw tail on shrimp
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded + chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped + more fore serving
  • kosher salt + pepper
  • steamed white rice + black beans + sliced avocado, for serving

Fried Plantains

  • 4 yellow plantains, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • oil, for frying
  • flaky sea salt

Instructions

Add the shrimp to a gallon size Ziplock bag or medium size bowl. Add the olive oil, honey, garlic, ginger, jalapeños, cayenne, cumin and cilantro. Toss well to combine, seal the bag or cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes or up 24 hours.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot use a slotted spoon to scoop the shrimp out of the marinade and into the hot skillet, season with salt and pepper. Make sure to scoop up all the garlic as well. Cook the shrimp until pink, about 2-3 minutes per side. Add the butter and 1 teaspoon pepper (or more or less to your taste) to the skillet. Continue to cook the shrimp in the butter until the garlic begins to caramelize and turn LIGHT golden brown, about another minute or two. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk and basil.

Serve shrimp alongside rice, black beans, fried plantains, avocado and lime wedges. Garnish with freshly chopped basil.

Fried Plantains

Heat an inch or so of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the plantains and fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until just lightly golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Now transfer the plantains to a cutting board and, using the back of a wooden spoon, smash them down into round flat disks.

Return the plantains to the hot oil and fry another 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden and crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Chips are best eaten right after frying, but any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Book(s) of the Day:

I am listing three books today.  All three are set in bookstores, which is awesome, and which I love.  All three are very different and very compelling stories.  How great would it be to work in a bookstore?  Or better yet, live in one?

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Image result for stories life of aj fikry

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Image result for mr. penumbra's 24-hour bookstore

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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All three books earned 5 stars on Goodreads and a warm fuzzy place in my heart.

Day 8 of the Hostage Situation

Not being allowed to do much of anything except lounge about sucks a lot more than you think it would.  I am insane with boredom.  Let me give you an overview of a typical day:  I awake in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and pace around quietly so as not to disturb the household.  I read or play around on my phone or the laptop.  I watch TV.  I eventually doze back off.  I am up and wide awake again before anyone else.  After everyone has gone off to their lives outside of the house (lucky dogs), I get dressed just for gits and shiggles and then rustle up some breakfast.  I then give each seat in the living room the loving attention of my backside in equal turns.  I march around the house in random dance steps or high knees or MC Hammer style, getting my pseudo-exercise for the day.  As early as can be justified, I eat some lunch.  I basically repeat my morning activities, though I may also paint something or write a letter or unload the dishwasher (light dishes only!) just so I feel like I’ve done something productive.  There is usually a nap or two thrown in there as well.  Then I anxiously await the return of the household.  We visit, eat dinner, shower, watch TV, and go to bed.  And one more day is crossed off.

I have been experimenting with my confinement wardrobe, resurrecting several pieces that have not seen daylight in years.  The Hubs has yet to comment on my severely mismatched and out-of-date duds, but he has shot me a couple of raised eyebrows.  A few days ago, I entertained some of my in-laws with my britches unbuttoned and folded down, no bra, and my hair pushed back in a headband so that my hair stood straight up off my head with a very Statue of Liberty-esque effect.  They were too polite to comment.

I know I’m whiney.  You don’t have to tell me.  🙂  But alas, this too shall pass.  I’ll be back at work soon enough, wondering to myself why I didn’t enjoy my time away more than I did.

Peace and hardcore bumming it grease.

Recipe of the day:

Tomatillo Salsa Verde via http://www.shewearsmanyhats.com

I came across this recipe back when I was participating in Bountiful Baskets.  (This is a fabulous organization.  If you love to cook and/or can, you should check to see if there is a program in your ‘hood. http://www.bountifulbaskets.org)  It is basically heaven in a jar.

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed & washed
  • 6 jalapeños
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium-large onion
  • ⅔ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Chop the onion in half, crush the garlic, and leave the jalapeños and tomatillos whole. Roast on a baking sheet in a 400-degrees F oven for about 15 minutes, turning all halfway over through roasting time.
  2. Peel the garlic, deseed and rough chop the jalapeño, and peel and rough chop the onion.
  3. In a food processor, add all roasted ingredients, plus cilantro and salt and pulse until all ingredients are chopped and desired consistency is reached.

Makes 5 cups.

Book of the day:

Image result for wake fade gone

The Wake trilogy by Lisa McMann.  It has been four years since I read this YA trilogy, but I truly enjoyed them.  The books follow 17-year-old Janie, who has the unique ability/curse of being sucked into other people’s dreams.  This not only gives her entirely TMI about the people around her, but it takes a toll on her mental and physical health.  I gave Wake, Fade, and Gone all three five stars on Goodreads back when I originally read them.

Song of the day:

Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys.  I like this song for several reasons, the least of which is the unusually long sentences in the lyrics.  Ha!

A Different Perspective

Well, here I am post-surgery, and time no longer has the same meaning as before.  I don’t mean that nearly as profoundly as it sounds.  I mean that my sleep schedule is all kinds of jacked up.  I have been sleeping off and on around the clock.  And, now it is 3:30 a.m., and I am wide awake.  I have been sitting beside my window watching cars drive up and down my street and wondering what in the world has these people up at this hour.  I kind of like being awake in the middle of the night.  Things are peaceful.  The world outside is beautiful.  You can hear the sounds that are lost during the day.  The absence of light gives my familiar surroundings a new and mysterious façade.

My recovery time is going to be lonely.  The Hubs has to go back to work.  And I am left in a solitary world of my own making.  I spent several years wrapped in a shroud of depression so veiled that I did not even recognize it myself for quite some time.  During that time, I slowly and methodically removed myself from almost all of my friends’ lives.  I pushed people away.  I did this by not coming around, not inviting people over, and declining invitations thrown my way.  The Hubs and I have swapped our old roles.  I used to be the social butterfly who dragged him along often against his will.  Now he’s the one with a social life, and he often ends up being one of my few companions.  I hate that I did this to everyone.  I have tried reaching out in recent years in an effort to repair some of the relationships that I had once distanced myself from.  But, what’s done is done.  And, I can’t blame everyone for moving on with their lives.  It has kind of been a bit hurtful that many of the people that I expected to pop in and check on me have been all radio silence.  I know that sounds selfish, but it is what it is.  The truth is often unattractive.  But, that will be my only complaint on the matter.

Narcotics are having quite an impact on my already-vivid dreams.  Every time I take one of the prescribed pills (which isn’t often as I despise taking pain medicine), I have such realistic dreams that I have to spend time convincing myself that it was indeed just a dream.  And, each time I have been extremely relieved when I finally decide that it couldn’t have been real.  Shudder!

I just wanted to take a moment in this quietness to drop a few lines.  I think I will go back to watching the night world outside my window until sleep finds me yet again.  I hope all is well in your worlds.

Peace and night critter grease.  Ha!  That sounds kind of grody….

Song of the Day:

The Sound of Silence – Disturbed (I love love love this version).  And, I find this song appropriate with the time of night and my mood.

Book of the Day:

Image result for let's get lost adi

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

I just finished this book for the A Book that Gives You Wanderlust requirement of the 2016 Reading Challenge.  I love a good road trip, and this book is about just that.  It is very John Green-esque, and I love some John Green.  I have mentioned my affinity for YA fiction before.

Recipe of the Day:

Savory Bacon-Cheddar Pancakes with Corn and Jalapeno via http://www.seriouseats.com.  I very much enjoyed this savory twist on the old breakfast staple.  Nom nom nom.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces bacon, cut into fine dice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears of corn)
  • 1 to 2 red or green jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 8 scallions, thinly sliced (divided)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons honey, plus more for serving
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 ounces (about 1 1/4 cup) cultured buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for oiling pan or griddle
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Directions

  1. Heat butter, bacon, and 1 tablespoon water in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until water evaporates and bacon begins to crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Add corn, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring, until tender and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add jalapeño peppers and half of scallions and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a plate to cool slightly.
  2. Combine cornmeal, flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, honey, eggs, buttermilk, 2 tablespoons oil, half of corn/bacon mixture, and half of remaining scallions in a large bowl and stir and fold until no dry streaks of flour remain but batter is still lumpy. Fold in cheese cubes.
  3. Heat griddle or large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add a small amount of oil to the griddle and spread with a paper towel. Ladle 1/4 to 1/2 cup of batter onto the griddle, spreading it into an even circle. Repeat to fit as many pancakes as you can. Spread a 1 tablespoon-sized portion of the bacon/corn mixture on top of each pancake.
  4. Cook undisturbed until edges of pancakes begin to set and bubbles start to break the top surface, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancakes with a thin, flexible spatula and cook on second side until golden brown and completely set, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet in a warm oven while you cook the remaining pancakes. Serve, garnished with remaining scallions and drizzled with honey.