Just Look Around, Won’t Ya?

via Daily Prompt: Fortune

Good morning, all!  I have been absent a while.  I just can’t seem to find a spare moment to blog, keep up with correspondence, clean my house properly, or much of anything else.  Busy busy busy!  I hope all is well in your world.

Fortune is today’s daily prompt topic.  Such a subjective topic.  Many would probably define fortune as wealth in the monetary sense.  Others may define it as luck (i.e. he was fortunate enough to win that raffle drawing).  Since I personally have never been wealthy nor lucky, I think of fortune more like blessings–more like understanding how much you do have and appreciating that.  Even though life has been challenging of late, I know how fortunate I am.

I have a wonderful family who I love dearly.  I have a caring, kind spouse who loves me even though I seldom deserve such a partner.  I do not have to struggle daily to feed my family.  I have a roof over my head.  I have clothes to wear.  I do not live in an oppressed, third-world, nor a war-torn area.  I do not have to walk miles and miles each day to collect tainted water.  Each day, though often an emotional battle, is not a physical challenge of survival.  I am free to believe in God and can expect not to be persecuted for that belief.

And today I have been given yet another opportunity to wake up and face this day with health and hope and the opportunity of making the best of what the day presents.  I could not ask for more fortune in my life.

May you also recognize how fortunate you are.  Much love.

Song of the Day

November Rain by Guns N’ Roses.  How fortunate I am to have lived long enough to hear the songs I grew up listening to on the classic rock station…….

Book of the Day

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I am almost finished reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  This is the second book of hers that I have read, and I can say two things:  she is an excellent story teller, and she must have done lots of drugs throughout her life…….  This book and The Goldfinch have a common theme of heavy drug use by the main characters.  The narrator in The Secret History, Richard Papen, recounts his involvement in a murder during his years at Hampden College in Vermont, where he was a member of a group of mostly wealthy Ancient Greek majors with questionable morals that live in a world quite removed from the rest of the student body.  I will likely end up giving it 4 or 5 stars on Goodreads.  We shall see……

Recipe of the Day

Sun Dried Tomato, Spinach, and Cheese Baked Stuffed Chicken Breasts via http://www.recipetineats.com.  This is one of those recipe videos that I saw on Facebook.  I will be trying it for dinner tonight.

Ingredients
  • 6oz/180g small chicken breasts (2 pieces), boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomato (oil packed. Use enough to cover the chicken, cut into strips)
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese (or other melting cheese of choice)
  • leaves Handful of spinach
  • 2 tsp olive oil
Italian Dressing
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar, any
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp EACH Italian mixed herbs and red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Whisk together the Italian Dressing ingredients in a bowl. It will be thicker than salad dressing.
  3. Cut a pocket into each chicken breast, taking care not to cut all the way though.
  4. Coat the chicken (inside and out) with the Italian Dressing.
  5. Place chicken on work surface. Stuff with sun dried tomato, top with cheese then finish with spinach leaves. Just stuff in as much as you can.
  6. Seal with toothpicks (just stick them in on the diagonal – see photo in post).
  7. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until golden.
  8. Transfer to oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and chicken is cooked through. Rest for 3 minutes before serving, drizzled with the juices in the skillet.

 

 

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The Playlist Shuffle Tag

Good afternoon, Interweb!  Since I have been listening to Pandora today as I work, I decided to participate in The Playlist Shuffle Tag, which I came across here.  The rules are that you put your music on shuffle, and list the first 15 songs that play.  No cheating.  No skipping.  Nada.  If you participate, please tag me so I can see what you’re listening to!

Like I said, I was listening to (one of) my (many) Pandora account(s).  I had several stations on shuffle, hence the variety.  And here we go…..

  1. Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve
  2. For You – Staind
  3. Be Like That – 3 Doors Down
  4. City of Delusion – Muse
  5. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
  6. Change the World – Eric Clapton
  7. Renegades – X Ambassadors
  8. Scarborough Fair/Canticle – Simon & Garfunkel
  9. Down in the River to Pray – Alison Krauss
  10. Baptism Hymn – Jon Schmidt
  11. Stand by Me – Ben E King
  12. Time to Say Goodbye – Mike Strickland
  13. Dietro Casa – Ludovico Einaudi
  14. Breakdown – Seether
  15. Imagine – Louis Landon

I hope y’all are having a beautiful day.  Much love!

Spring Has Sprung

Hello, everyone.  And to those of you who enjoyed a week off for Spring Break last week, welcome back to reality!  😉

I had a lovely spring weekend.  (I know Spring didn’t technically start until today, but it might as well had started a couple of weeks ago ’round these parts.)  We went to an interesting wedding out in The Boonies.  The Hubs worked hard on our lawn, making sure everything was done perfectly in his OCD way.  And, he planted tomatoes and basil and jalapenos and some other goodies.  We put out our bird feeders, with two kinds of seed and some hummingbird food.  I washed our vehicles, which is almost a futile effort right now since as soon as you’re done, they’re pollen yellow again.  I got to visit with my seeeestur and youngest niece twice this weekend!  I made more progress on the Great Garage Sale Effort.  And, we made a pot roast and pineapple upside down cake.

So, I guess I can’t complain about much now that Monday has shown its ugly face again.  At least I feel rested and accomplished, and I have a lovely little view to go home to and look at tonight.  I hope y’all had an equally satisfying weekend.  Here’s to tackling this week and not letting anything drag us down!  Cheers!

Song of the Day

Down by Marian Hill.  I listened to this song several times this weekend.  You have to admit, it’s kinda catchy.

Book of the Day

Image result for 1q84

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.  I saw a poll on Book Riot earlier asking for the worst book you’ve ever read.  I nominated this one as did many people.  Apparently Murakami is supposed to be a bit of a literary genius.  This is the only one of his books that I have read, and I found it to be tedious, baffling, and very unsatisfying.  It is almost 1000 pages, and you’ll never recover any of that time and effort.  After reading other comments on the post, I have learned that perhaps I do not have the mental capacity to appreciate or understand 1Q84.  Perhaps not.  Or, perhaps they are book snobs.  If you had a different experience with this novel, I’d like to hear what you liked about it.  After all, as of the writing of this post the book has an average rating of 3.88 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.  Somebody out there must’ve liked it…..  (This is the book which, after reading, I first gave myself permission to quit a book without finishing it.)

Recipe of the Day

Beer Cheese Soup with Garlic Butter Crostini via http://www.foodnetwork.com.  I have a bag of shredded gruyere cheese in the fridge that I’ve been trying to find a use for.  I came across this recipe this weekend, and so I am going to try it tonight.  I’ve had beer cheese soup in the past and find it strange but delicious, so I expect to enjoy this particular recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bottle pale ale, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon
  • 2 cups shredded sharp yellow Cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • Garlic Butter Crostini, for serving, recipe follows
Garlic Butter Crostini:
  • 1/2 baguette, sliced into 12 thin slices on the diagonal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic

Directions

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, onions, mustard powder, cayenne and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sweat the vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock, mustard and Worcestershire and simmer until the veggies are very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the ale, simmer, about 5 minutes, and then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the Cheddar, gruyere and half-and-half and stir until melted through and smooth. Adjust the seasoning and top with the Garlic Butter Crostini. Enjoy with a 30-pack of your favorite cheap beer.

Garlic Butter Crostini: 

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush the baguette slices on both sides with the butter and sprinkle with salt. Grill the slices on both sides until grill marks form, about 3 minutes per side. Rub the slices with the garlic.

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

via Daily Prompt: Immerse

I have whined in a few previous posts about hating my job and wanting to become a gypsy, etc.  And, I think I’m going to finally take a chance on myself and do something risky.  The Hubs and I have been batting around business ideas for years, and I think we’re actually going to give it a go.  I know it will be slow starting out.  I know we may fall flat on our faces.  But seriously.  I no longer care.  Nothing is going to happen if we don’t try to make something happen.  Right?

I have spent the last several weeks immersed in research and note-taking and shopping around for supplies, etc. in an effort to be as well prepared as one can be without actually getting their feet wet.  And when I’m not doing that, my thoughts have been immersed in ways in which I will quit my current job when it comes to that point.  This is actually something I have been daydreaming about for years.

I think it would be epic to go out a la Scarface from Half Baked.  We even have an intercom system, so yeah…….  Most likely, I will be very polite and give plenty of notice and help them prepare as much as I can because I do try to be a lady (sort of).  And I am a Christian, and most of my plans are not what Jesus would do….  But, in my mind……in my mind, it is a completely different scenario.  Maybe I will at least give myself a tiny bit of satisfaction by changing my screen saver to say “go step on a Lego”.

Song of the Day

Seven Bridges Road by The Eagles

I am going to break my own format and skip the recipes and books of the day.  I am too immersed in finishing up my day.  I hope you all have a blessed evening!

 

Like a Deer in Headlights

Last night as I lay in bed, it occurred to me that my self-preservation skills are not up to snuff.  What had happened was…..

I was all snuggled in, on the verge of drifting off.  The Hubs was in the living room watching ye ol’ boob tube.  Quite suddenly, an odor came drifting through the air vents.  It wasn’t necessarily a bad odor, but it was an off odor.  The (very irrational, I’ll admit) thought that crept through my mind was that someone was sending poisonous gas into our ventilation system.  (I think I read too much fiction.)  Did I spring into action?  Did I shout out a warning to The Hubs?  Did I put a pillow over my face as I tried to get us out of the house alive??  No.  No I did not.  I just lay there perfectly still, petrified really, trying to figure out what that increasingly strong odor was, all the while risking paralyzation or even death!

Several agonizing minutes passed by before I grabbed my phone and texted The Hubs:

Did you burn some popcorn?

I hope none of you is ever relying on me in a crisis……

Like my ATX friend always says, “y’all have a ROCKIN’ day!”

Song of the Day

Joy to the World by Three Dog Night.  This is another gem that my mom used to sing to me.  Love love love it.

Book of the Day

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi.  This is one of the first books I listened to when I discovered that audiobooks may keep me from going postal at work.  The setting is post-apocalyptic and steampunk-ish.  The story is about a teenage boy who works on a scavenging crew that strips old ships of copper wiring.  He has an accident at work that almost costs him his life, but he lives and comes across a yet undiscovered clipper ship, which is occupied by a lone survivor–a rich young girl.  He has to choose between the job of a lifetime or saving her.  Good book.  Different, but good.

Recipe of the Day

Artichoke, Fresh Mozzarella, and Salami Sandwiches (aka Stinky Sandwiches) via http://www.bonappetit.com.  I was craving a good ol’ stinky Italian sandwich one day, and The Hubs and I came across this recipe.  Let me say that I hate green olives, but I tried them with olivada anyway.  Delicious!  All of it!

Ingredients

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

  • 2 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 5-inch-diameter or 6-inch-long Italian rolls, split in half lengthwise
  • 12 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella, drained, sliced
  • 6 ounces salami, thinly sliced
  • 8 tablespoons green olivada

Preparation

Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide artichoke mixture among bottom halves of rolls. Top with cheese, then salami. Spread top half of each roll with 2 tablespoons olivada. Place atop salami. Press sandwiches lightly to compact and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate sandwiches at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

Green Olivada via http://www.foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (20 ounces) pitted good quality green olives
  • 4 peeled cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (if the olives are packed in olive oil, then use the oil from the jar)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a jar and pour 1/4-inch of olive oil over the top to preserve; refrigerate for 2 weeks or freeze for longer.

18 Questions About Music Tag

I wanted to do another music tag post, and I came across this one.  So, here goes.  If you write about this topic, please tag me so I can see your answers.

The Questions are…

1. Which band/artist do you own the most albums by? Easily Eminem.
2. What was the last song you listened to? Woman, Woman by AWOLNATION.
3. What’s in your CD player right now? All six slots in my car are filled with “mixed tapes”.
4. What was the last show you attended? Elton John with my seestur.
5. What was the greatest show you’ve been to? Either 2Cellos or TransSiberian Orchestra.  \m/
6. What was the worst show you’ve ever been to? Probably Aaron Tippin, because he sings country, and I am not a fan of country music.
7. What is the most musically involved you have ever been? I was in band for three years.  Played the clarinet.  I wish I had pursued music further, but I didn’t.
8. What show are you looking forward to?  2Cellos in ATX, baby!
9. What is your favorite band shirt?  My favorite was my Weezer shirt that I had in high school.  I loved that friggin’ shirt.  And Levi Lawhon stole it from me.  Bastard.
10. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?  There are many.  If I had to pick just one (and this is for today–likely to change tomorrow), I’d say Marcus Mumford.  I have a bit of a crush on him.
11. Who is one musician or group you wish would make a comeback?  Pink Floyd.  Even though, in the words of my Uncle Benny, “them dudes are old”.
12. Who is one band/ artist you’ve never seen live but always wanted to?  I have a massive dream concert list.  Mumford and Sons.  Florence + the Machine.  NEEDTOBREATHE.  Twenty One Pilots.  Aerosmith.  And on and on and on.
13. Name four or more flawless albums.  The Wall by Pink Floyd.  Licensed to Ill by Beastie Boys.  Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons.  Metallica’s Black album.
14. How many concerts have you been to, total?  I am saddened and shamed to say that I can only think of 7.
15. Who have you seen the most live?  In November, it will be 2Cellos.
16. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?  O Brother, Where Art Thou?
17. What was your last musical ‘phase’ before you wisened up?  My musical taste has always been awesome.  😉
18. What is your ‘guilty pleasure’ that you hate to admit liking?  I don’t really have a ‘guilty pleasure’.  I guess if I have to provide an answer, I don’t want to like HandClap by Fitz and the Tantrums.  But I do.  Dammit.  (It makes me shake my butt.)

Just a Short Thought

The more life you live, the heavier it gets.  I think I carry mine on my face.

Song of the Day

7 Years by Lukas Graham.  “Soon I’ll be sixty years old.  My daddy got sixty-one.  Remember life and then your life becomes a better one.”

Book of the Day

Image result for into the wild novel

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.  This is the sad but fascinating story of Chris McCandless (aka Alex Supertramp), who walked alone into the Alaskan wilderness in 1992 and never came out.  A friend of mine told me about this book, and I was rather judgy of McCandless before I read it.  How can someone go into such a harsh environment so ill-prepared?  How can someone just drop off the face of the earth, as far as their family is concerned, and make them worry?  But, after reading the book, you find that he was maybe more prepared than it seemed on the surface.  He was an educated man, who just wanted to live life in a different way than the mainstream, I suppose.  It was a very interesting book.  I am looking forward to reading The Wild Truth, which is his sister, Carine’s account of Jon’s story.

Recipe of the Day

Hoppin’ John.  This is a recipe I’ve made 1000 times.  I don’t know where I learned to make it.  I have made it for company many times, and people are always surprised to love it.

  • 2 cans purple hull peas, juice drained from 1 can
  • 2 bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 lb diced or cubed ham
  • 1 c uncooked rice
  • Louisiana hot sauce
  • sour cream

Dice vegetables.  Cook them along with the ham in olive oil in a large skillet until onions are translucent.  Add the peas and juice from one can.  Season with several dashes of Louisiana hot sauce.  Cook until heated through.  While this part is cooking, cook rice according to package directions.  Serve ham and veggie mixture over the rice.  Garnish with sour cream and more hot sauce.