I’m So Knocking Knackered

via Daily Prompt: Knackered

Knackered.  What a fun-sounding word for such an unpleasant state.  And, what an appropriate Daily Prompt word for a Friday.  I am most definitely knackered today.  This has most definitely been a most knackering week.  (Is that a word?)

Thank God the weekend has finally arrived.  Literally.  I am LITERALLY thanking God.  I have had an extremely busy work week.  My husband, bless his heart, has been working on a job with his brother that has been a nonstop barrage of problems.  It has come to a blessed end today.  And, I’ve had a lot on my mind the past couple of weeks, and that has certainly left me feeling knackered.

The thinking too much and worrying is the most tiresome of everything.  It is something I seldom do.  It tells us in the Bible time after time not to worry, not to be anxious.  And, usually, I don’t.  I have found in life that just rolling with the tide is best.  I don’t know why I’m suddenly going against God’s word here and wasting any time, effort, and sleep worrying about the future.  Especially since I can’t really pinpoint what it is I’m anxious about.  I just feel…..unsettled.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
And on and on and on……
I get to spend much of tomorrow with my family, which is always refreshing for a knackered mind and soul.  Hopefully, that time will put my my at ease, and I can let go of this silliness.
We are gathering for my sister’s grandson’s 1st birthday party.  I cannot believe that he is one already!  And, I still cannot believe that my sister is a grandmother!  I often feel that I have trouble wrapping my head around such things because I never had children myself.  I don’t guess things would seem so shocking if I had.  Perhaps in my mind, I’d feel more like an adult than I do.  My life has not changed much in the last 20 years, and I often feel like that has stymied my mental growth….or my progression in life.  But, that’s one more thing I should not waste mental effort on.  🙂  I am just going to relish the time with everyone tomorrow and enjoy watching a one-year-old’s awe and wonder at being the center of attention and being lavished with silly gifts.  He is so darn cute.
I hope you all have a refreshing weekend.  And, I hope you are all feeling less knackered by the end of this evening.

Song of the Day

Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz.  “I’m happy.  I’m feeling glad.  I’ve got sunshine in a bag…..”

Book of the Day

Image result for the woman in cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware.  I was disappointed by this book.  It was on so many must-read lists!  I totally expected to be blown away by it.  But, alas, I was not.  It’s the story of Lo Blacklock, a journalist whose career has been pretty stagnant for a decade or so.  She is finally given the assignment of a lifetime when she lands a trip on the maiden voyage of a luxury cruise ship destined for the Northern Lights.  She almost immediately stumbles into a mystery after boarding, and her life is endangered when she reaches out for help.  I was never really pulled in to the story line.  The plot, though promising, was poorly executed.  It wasn’t awful, but it certainly didn’t live up to all of they hype.

Recipe of the Day

I am going to do something a bit different here.  Instead of posting a recipe that I have tried, I am going to ask a recipe question.  I watch a lot of cooking shows on TV.  I am quite obsessed with food.  Often on these shows, I see chefs making flavored or infused butters.  Have any of you tried this?  What do you like to use them on?  Do you have a favorite infused butter recipe?  If so, please share your experiences with me!  I would very much like to try to make my own…..

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Unravel

via Daily Prompt: Unravel

The days get so twisted up;

Tiny strands of stress and work.

But at night there is always you

To unravel it in our bed.

But then sometimes I do it to us;

Not there for you like you need.

I let life get in the way,

And I unravel us instead.

Daily I make plans and goals.

They dance around in my thoughts.

Things I should be working toward,

But doubts unravel them in my head.

I’m the oldest I’ve ever been

And the youngest I’ll ever be.

I must seize life and see the world

Lest I unravel until I’m dead.

Song of the day

Blood in the Cut by K. Flay.  Wow.  This is a pretty disturbing song.  I never realized how messed up just listening to it on AltNation in my car.  Still has a catchy sound to it……  **EXPLICIT LYRICS**

Recipe of the Day

Hobo Packs.  I make these every now and again for dinner.  What I like about them is they’re so flexible.  You can put just about anything in them from fish to beef to pork to just vegetables!  I usually do beef but tried smoked sausage last night and was not disappointed.

  • 1-2 (or more!) lbs of meat depending on how many people you’re feeding
    • When using ground beef, I usually season the whole pound very well and work the seasonings in with my hands.  Then, I break it up into 3 patties and make 3 hobo packs out of it.  You can do more or less in each one.  Whatever.
    • If using smoked sausage, just cut up into bite-sized pieces and distribute between packs.
    • If using chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces, season, and distribute.
    • Etc.
  • A variety of vegetables
    • Potatoes are always a nice choice.  Very filling, and 1 decent-sized potato can fill up several packs.
    • Carrots are also a good one.  You can peel and chop up 1-2 carrots to split between several packs.
    • Onions are easy.
    • Fresh or frozen green beans.  Just a few go a long way!
    • If you’re going strictly all-vegetable, you may use some other fillers like asparagus, turnips, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, etc.  The possibilities are endless.
  • A pat of butter for each pack.
  • Salt & pepper
  • A condensed soup of some sort (optional).  My favorite to use is cheddar broccoli soup.  Just add a scoop or two to each pack.
  • Foil.  One large square per pack.

Lay out one large square of foil for each pack you plan on making.  Start with the meat.  Place one serving on the center of each foil square.  Start piling on the veggies.  Salt and pepper (and perhaps Cajun seasoning or whatever else you may like) each stack.  Top with a pat of butter and a spoonful or two of the soup, if using.

Carefully fold up each foil square into bundles, being careful to seal up every edge as best you can.  (It will leak, if you don’t!)  If you are grilling out, place each bundle on the grill and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender.  If you’re using an oven, place all of the bundles on a large cookie sheet.  Cook them all together at 425 for about an hour, until the potatoes are fork-tender.  Viola!

Book of the Day

Image result for one hundred names cecelia ahern

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern.  It has been about 3 years since I’ve read this book, so I don’t feel I can give an accurate summary.  I do remember that it is about a journalist who is in trouble.  Her mentor dies before she can help very much.  The journalist finds a sheet of paper with 100 names on it at her mentor’s bedside, and she throws herself into finding out the link between all of the people listed.  It was a very good and touching read from what I remember.  Must’ve been because I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

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

Image result for the secret history donna

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.

 

 

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!

 

A Doubting Leone

via Daily Prompt: Doubt

Doubts hold me back.

Not doubts in regards to faith.  I have no doubts that God is God and that Jesus gave His life to save our poor wretched souls.  But, doubts in regards to life.  I want to up and move so badly.  I want to just sell most of everything that we have and head off to parts unknown with the faith that we will find jobs and a place to live before we starve to death on the streets.  But, I have doubts that this is possible.  Which is crazy because I know people who have lived their entire lives like this.  Don’t like your job?  Just quit.  No income?  Who cares?  They still manage to find a way to live, to eat, to get the things they need, and in many cases take care of their children, to go on fabulous vacations, etc.  So, I know it’s possible somewhere deep down inside, I just have doubts on my ability to live like this.  Responsibility is all at once a virtue and a downfall.  Or perhaps I’ll just never ever be comfortable expecting someone else to take care of me.  I need someone to pick me up by the seat of my britches and chunk me out into the world.  I’m knocking on 40.  It is about time I grew up and experienced life after all.  “Somebody help me, please.  Somebody help me, please!!!” <—- in the voice of Mr. Green from one of my all-time favorite movies, Clue.

Song of the Day

Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  The instrumental intro to this song will make me stop dead in my tracks, regardless of what I’m doing, to turn up the volume.

Book of the Day

Image result for darker shade of magic

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.  Last weekend, The Hubs and I were looking for a garage sale out in the boonies.  We were using Google Maps, headed down the highway.  ‘Make a U-turn’ it told us.  So, we do.  And, before we find the county road, it tells us to ‘make a U-turn’.  And, so we do.  And then, it almost immediately instructs us to ‘make a U-turn’.  I told The Hubs that I have been reading too many magic-themed books because I half expected, in the back of my mind, for a road to magically appear after the third loop–like Kell’s coat in A Darker Shade of Magic.  He has a “many-sided” coat.  He just keeps turning his coat inside out, inside out, inside out until he comes across the particular coat he is looking for…..

Recipe of the Day

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili (aka White Chili) via http://www.instructables.com.  The temperature here dropped about 20 degrees over the last couple of days, though it still doesn’t come close to feeling like winter.  I am posting this in the hopes that winter will still make an appearance if we pretend like it’s going to….

Ingredients:
1(+/-) pound frozen, boneless, skinless chicken (or two chicken breasts)
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 15 oz. can corn
1 10 oz. Mexican style tomatoes
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
½ cup water
1 package Ranch dressing mix (about 1 ½ Tbs.)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin

Place the frozen chicken in the bottom of your crock pot.  Open the black beans and put them in the colander.  Rinse the beans and add them to the crock pot.  Open the tomatoes and pour them on top of the beans.  Open the corn and drain them in the colander.  (The reason I drain the corn is that, in the past, when I have made something with corn and its juice, the corn juice over powered the other flavors in the dish.)  Add the corn on top of the tomatoes, and add ½ cup water to provide the right amount of moisture to cook your chili.  Add the 3 seasoning powders: the ranch dressing mix, the chili powder and the ground cumin.  Use your spoon to mix everything together.  Next add dabs of cream cheese to the top of the mixture, using the whole package.  Put on the lid and plug in the slow cooker.  Turn it on low and cook undisturbed for 6-8.  At the end of 6-8 hours remove the lid and stir until the cream cheese is all melted in and the chicken is all broken up, mixing everything together.  Serve with corn bread or chips or biscuits.  Enjoy!

 

A real stretch to call it poetry.

via Daily Prompt: Squat

So my thighs are jiggly and my butt is cottage cheesy.  “That’s

Queer,” you say.  Being thin, for you, comes easy.  “Ah, but you don’t

Understand”, says I.  Just because I’m skinny does not mean I’m

At all buff.  Quite the opposite.  I’m almost wholly made from

The squishy stuff.


 

Sometimes my head feels like it may explode.  Life gets

Quite trying.  When that happens, I want to take a side road.  Turn

Up the radio and drive until I’m in a different postal code.  Music

Always puts my mood in a better mode.  It is the best sort of

Therapy when things get all pigeon toed.


 

I won’t torture you with any more poetry that won’t amount to squat.  Or to me doing any squats.  Ha!  My mind is all over the place.  Can you tell?

Hope you’re having a beautiful Friday eve.

Song of the Day

Lost On You by LP.  This song gets stuck in my head all the time.

Book of the Day

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  Is there a bibliophile on the planet who hasn’t read this?  This is my go-to book (and movie) when I’m feeling melancholy.  If you need a good sob (and by good sob, I mean The Big Ugly Cry), and if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t read this, go get it.  Now.

Image result for the fault in our stars novel

Recipe of the Day

Club Pasta Salad via http://www.food.com.  I was browsing for a good recipe and came across this one.  It’s light.  It’s easy.  It’s tasty.  And, I haven’t made it in ages.  (I always use cut-up lunch meat for this.  That super thin Buddig stuff.  Because I’m a lazy cook and take short-cuts whenever I can.)

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fill large saucepan 2/3 full of water. Heat to boiling. Stir in contents of Pasta.
  2. Gently boil uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  3. Drain pasta. Rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well.
  4. Combine Hidden valley ranch mix, onion powder and bacon bits with mayonnaise in large bowl. Stir in chilled pasta and remaining ingredients except lettuce. Serve on lettuce. Refrigerate leftovers (if desired, moisten with a few teaspoons milk before servings).

Don’t call the world dirty because you forgot to clean your glasses.

via Daily Prompt: Clean

Clean.  What you frantically do to your house after watching a marathon of Hoarders episodes.

Clean.  How you eat when you get a bit freaked out by all of the chemicals listed on food packaging.

Clean.  What your social media posts are after you remember that your parents, grandparents, and friends’ kids can see them.

Clean.  What you spend your weekends doing now that you are officially an old fuddy duddy.

Clean.  A word I’ve heard used to describe really spiffy rims on a car.  Usually preceeded by a sucked in breath, a fist to the mouth, the leaning back of the upper body, and a daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn……..

Clean.  A really misleading word used to describe the horrific things that people do to cute little fishies that they have caught and that can lead to trauma in a child.

Clean.  Shockingly, a word that can be used to describe my driving record.

And that’s all I have to say about that.  G’day to you all.

Song of the Day

Fantastic Voyage by Coolio.  The clean version.  Of course.

Recipe of the Day

Chicken Tortilla Soup via http://www.thepioneerwoman.com.  I know what you’re thinking.  Chicken tortilla soup is good, but nothing special.  But this is the not-all-of-it’s-from-a-can version.  And it is divine.  Then again, everything I have ever tried from The Pioneer Woman’s website is heavenly.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches

Garnishes:

  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Cilantro

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

Book of the Day

Image result for the whole town's talking

The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg.  This is the good, clean, wholesome story of the settlement of Elmwood Springs, Missouri.  I love books like this that are set back in the day before the whole world lost its collective mind.  And, I’m a bit partial to Fannie Flagg, who also wrote Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion.