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Showing posts from October, 2013

The Horror

The Horror
Halloween was my favorite holiday as a kid. I guess it explains how crazy I was about candy, because I do not enjoy being scared in the very least. I am one of those people who can be startled into jumping three feet just because someone walks into the same room with me. I remember my mother always being crazy about the holiday. She threw fantastic Halloween parties, complete with haunted mazes through our woods…she was however, paranoid every single year that someone would kidnap our cats and murder them in some sort of sacrificial ceremony. I have no idea how she got that into her head, or why she was so worried about it.
I don’t like scary, so I am not really into “Scary Halloween”. I like, “Fun & Playful Halloween”…and I like the candy. I specifically dislike horror, and horror movies particularly. I have actually refused to go to Universal Studios since we moved to Florida, because I was so angry with them flashing their terrible horror commercials all over the te…

Twenty Things...You Learn Living in Indiana

Twenty Things...You Learn Living in Indiana



1. It's not all flat. The Northern part of the state is very very flat, but the glacier stopped just short of the Southern part of Indy and it is insanely hilly. The hills are beautiful, especially in the fall when the leaves change.

2. The state has different time zones for half of the year. Northern Indiana still does not participate in daylight savings time. As I understand it, it is because of the abundance of dairy cattle. They do not do well with time changes.

3. In rural areas, most people still give directions by telling someone whether to turn North or South, instead of left or right.

4. The state has one of the most beautiful downtown areas that I have ever seen. It is especially beautiful in the wintertime.

5. The corporate decimation of the small family farm has destroyed a great deal of the landscape of the state. There are entire small towns, still barely surviving, because the farms have been lost and deserted.

6. Cows can…

What would your superpower be?

What would your superpower be?

I started asking this question to people a couple of years ago. It tells you a lot about a person. It is kind of neat. "If you could have any superpower which one would you want to have?" My husband's instant and consistent answer is the power to fly. My son sticks with telekinesis. Sometimes when I ask people the question over again after a period of time, their answers change. Mine has always been mind control. I don't know if that should reveal the fact that I believe I am strong enough of heart to shoulder that superpower responsibly...or if it simply means I am a control freak.

It definitely sounds a little insane, but I have come to believe that everyone should strive to develop their own superpower, whatever it may be. Maybe it is possible, who can really say. I do know that I get a lot further in my life believing that anything is possible, so why do I limit myself. Why is it okay for me to believe that it is possible for me run…

Family Dynamics

Family Dynamics


To the best of my understanding, my children need drama to survive. They have this remarkable

ability to create it at any time, in any place. Sometimes it keeps them entertained when they are

bored and sometimes I can't understand why they are creating it at all, but wherever they go, drama

goes along with them, and I don't know if I am going to live through the next ten years of it. It's like

some bizarre game that they are playing, where they have some sort of ball that they can't let hit the

ground. When one of them calms and becomes a normal, non-freaking-out child once again, another

one of them picks up the metaphorical ball and starts running with it, in full on freak out mode.




I grew up as an only child. It was my mother's desire that I have that life. She had one brother that

was four years younger than she was, and they got along terribly. She wanted for me to have the

solitude that she did not as a child. Unfortunately, I was horribly lon…

Vacation

Vacation

Vacation is so difficult, just to leave our house for one weeks time. All of the things that need to be
set up and taken care of are overwhelming for me. We have to ask one of our friends to watch our dog for the week. Luckily, she is well behaved and well liked. We still have to deliver her and pick her up though, and in Central Florida almost every one of our friends lives at least thirty minutes away. We have to arrange for a neighbor to feed the fish a few times, and check the mail and look for packages.

When leaving for a week, you want for everything to be really clean so that nothing rots in your house while you are away. All of the garbage emptied, and toilets scrubbed so that you aren't greeted by terrible smells when you get home. Pool treated, lawn mowed, air-fresheners unplugged. I try to make sure that all of the laundry is done so that I don't have it to add to what I come home with. It seems like it goes on and on.

In addition to all of that, I really l…

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole


This recipe is easy to make and always a hit. Green beans were one of the first green vegetables that I could talk my kids into eating willingly. The crunchy crust on this recipe always has them asking for seconds.


24 oz. green beans, cleaned and snapped 2 tbsp. gluten free flour 2 tbsp. butter 2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. black pepper 5 cloves garlic, minced ½ yellow onion, diced 2 c. half and half 2 c. cornflakes, crushed 1 stick butter, melted


Put the cleaned and snapped green beans in a deep baking dish. In a saucepan, on the stove, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Cook the mixture for about five minutes, stirring often, until it darkens and becomes smooth. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and half and half. Cook the mixture for ten more minutes, stirring often. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it over the green beans. 


Crush the two cups of cornflakes in a Ziploc bag with a meat tenderizer. Sprinkle them over the green beans and white …

I Don’t Think That I am Native to Earth

I Don’t Think That I am Native to Earth
I wrote a story where I talked about how my son must be from another planet. Then I decided that that wasn’t very fair of me, because I know that I am from another one too…not his, but another planet entirely. I am ridiculously squeamish and tactilely oversensitive. I told my husband once that my home planet has no dirt and no bugs, just soothe rocks and water. I don’t know how we grow food where I come from, but since it might be food that I’m actually not allergic to, then maybe it doesn’t grow in dirt. When I was a little girl and we would spend Sundays relaxing around my grandparents’ beautiful pond, I would spend the entire time that I was not in the water screaming and swatting myself because of the little flies that would land on me. They were just little gnats, they didn’t bite, and everyone else ignored them, but they drove me crazy. My husband has always wanted to take me camping, he loves the outdoors, but I completely refuse to go, …

Lemon Pepper Chicken Fingers

Lemon Pepper Chicken Fingers


You can never go wrong with chicken fingers. This recipe is quick and easy. The seasoning makes these chicken fingers tangy and delicious.


1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut lengthwise into strips ½ c. butter ½ c. canola oil ½ c. gluten free flour ½ c. grated parmesan cheese 1 tsp. coriander 2 tsp. garlic powder 2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. black pepper 2 tsp. lemon pepper


Combine the flour, parmesan, salt, pepper, lemon pepper, coriander, and garlic powder in a medium sized bowl. Coat each chicken finger in the flour mixture before placing in a large skillet with the melted butter and oil mixture. Fry the chicken for about three minutes on each side over medium heat, or until they are golden brown on both sides. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!





This Thing we do to Women

This Thing we do to Women
Being a mom is one of the things that I do best. In many ways it defines my identity. There was a time in my life; I believe around middle school, that I swore I would never have children. I have a friend who went to school with me; she said the same thing. We both have three kids now. I adore being a mother, and I wouldn’t change a thing about the choices that I made to bring me to this place in my life. Mothers don’t always get the recognition that we deserve, and I believe this must be the reason that we are so pushy about urging other women to join our club.
It is not okay. Just because I love being a mom, in no way do I have the right to push other women into motherhood. Everyone is not me; we all have different strengths and weaknesses. We all have different goals and wants and desires. Just because a woman has a functioning uterus does not mean that she owes the planet earth a child. When I hear women urging other women to have kids, by telling that t…

Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Spaghetti

Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Spaghetti


This is a delicious, comfort food that I like to make with my new favorite gluten free spaghetti, which is made by Muellers. The kids always gobble it up, and it is a great recipe to introduce to a child who isn’t mushroom friendly. The mushroom flavor that incorporates into the sauce is mouthwatering.


1 package gluten free pasta, cooked according to its directions 1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, trimmed, and cut into bite sized pieces 12 medium sized white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp. butter 2 tbsp. gluten free flour 1 c. chicken broth 1 c. heavy cream 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. pepper shaved parmesan cheese


In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the chicken and the mushrooms. Cook them for about twenty minutes, stirring often, until a great deal of the liquid has cooked off. Sprinkle them with the flour and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Add the chicken broth…

Purple & Blue Potato Salad

Purple & Blue Potato Salad


This salad is delicious, and actually very pretty. The baby purple potatoes that I used in this recipe are sweeter than other potatoes, and they are becoming more widely available in grocery stores.


1 lb. miniature purple potatoes, boiled, cooled, peeled, and cut into bite sized pieces 2 avocados, cut into bite sized pieces 1 lb. cold cooked turkey breast, cut into bite sized pieces 8 oz. crumbled blue cheese 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp. black pepper 2 tsp. salt ½ c. sour cream ½ c. mayonnaise


In a food processor, blend the blue cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic until the mixture is smooth.


In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, avocado, turkey and mayonnaise. Add the blue cheese mixture and combine by hand until well mixed. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!

My War with the Inanimate

My War with the Inanimate
We all have our little quirks, and I believe that it is very therapeutic to admit them. Oddly enough, this one is one that I share with not only my mother, but also with my grandmother who recently passed away. It probably comes from being relatively clumsy to begin with, and then it transforms itself into an outlet for daily frustration. Maybe I picked it up from observing my mother and my grandmother’s behavior as a child, but to be honest it feels much more natural to me than that.
I am not a violent person at all. I have a lot of trouble with violence to be honest. I cannot stand to see anything living in pain, but I will beat the crap out of anything that has no pulse, if I find a reason to be angry with it. If I can’t get a container open, I will begin to rip it up or throw it across the room in anger, the whole time believing that the container is doing this out of spite towards me. Yeah, I know. Most particularly if something hurts me. The rational w…

Miniature Shepherd’s Pies

Miniature Shepherd’s Pies


My children love to eat these with ketchup. They are a good to make before a busy week. Depending on how many little bellies you have to fill, they will last for a few meals. You can pair them with a frozen veggie or a salad for an easy dinner.


1 package pre-made mashed potatoes 3 tbsp. olive oil 1 lb. ground beef ½ medium yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp. salt 2 tsp. black pepper 1 tbsp. Worcestershire ½ c. parmesan ½ c. gluten free flour


In a medium sized saucepan, over medium heat, cook the onion with one tbsp. of the olive oil, until it turns transparent. Add the beef, garlic, salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and Worcestershire, and cook, stirring often, until the beef is browned. This will take about seven minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes.


In a separate bowl combine the flour 1 tsp. pepper, and the parmesan. Place half of that mixture in a large bowl and add the potatoes, then add the beef mixture when it …

Technology

Technology
I am listening to my children in the other room right now. They are cracking up laughing at the Chicken Heart that Ate New York City. It is on the Wonderfulness album by Bill Cosby. It is an album that I used to listen to over and over again at their age. I listened to it on my parents’ record player. My kids are listening to it through our television, on you tube. YouTube is transferred to our television through a little gadget called Apple TV. Until my husband brought it home one day, I had no idea that such a thing existed.
I started reading Ray Bradbury at a very young age, and to this day, he is one of my all time favorite authors. I have always shared his wariness when it comes to technology. If you have read much of his work, you know that he wrote many stories that hinted to the dangers technology poses to man. My favorite is called “The Veldt.” My father once told me that Ray never owned a car, that he rode his bicycle around a lot…in L.A. of all places. I don’t l…

Creamy Asparagus & Rice Casserole

Creamy Asparagus & Rice Casserole


½ medium yellow onion, diced 1 c. cooked white rice 2 c. chicken stock 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and chopped 1 tsp. pepper 1 tsp. salt 2 tbsp. butter 2 tbsp. gluten free flour 8 oz. cottage cheese 2 c. half and half 1 c. grated parmesan cheese


Cook the one c. of white rice according to directions, but substitute the 2 c. water for 2 c. chicken stock to give the rice more flavor.


In a separate saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Cook the mixture, stirring often, until it bubbles, becomes darker, and appears smooth. This will take about three minutes. Add the Half and half, salt, pepper, garlic and parmesan to the saucepan, stir the mixture often, until it becomes smooth, about three more minutes.


In a large bowl combine the rice, cottage cheese, onion, and asparagus. When the cream sauce has cooled a bit, add it to the rice mixture. Stir the mixture until it is well combined then move it to a lar…

Cleaning the Closet

Cleaning the Closet
My husband finally got to his the other day. It was so bad that I couldn’t even step inside it to put things away. Closets always get that way for some reason. I think that it even happens to the neatest and tidiest of us. Taking folded and stacked things on and off of shelves all of the time eventually leads to a mess, plain and simple. My closet’s light hasn’t even been working well lately, but I just go with it…I flip the switch early and wait until it decides to turn on before I go in to hunt down what I am looking for.
The obvious solution to keeping our closets more organized on a regular basis is to have less stuff in them. The less pieces of clothing that there are to deal with, the easier the closet is to manage. I don’t think that I know a single person who thinks that they have enough closet space, definitely not anyone who is complaining about having too much of it. The easiest solution is to follow the advice that anything not worn, as long as it is i…

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread



It’s simply delicious. Rich and comforting; I call it a bread because it needs no frosting, but it makes a delicious dessert…especially if you top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


2 c. gluten free flour 4 ripe bananas, mashed 1 egg 1 c. heavy cream 1 c. miniature chocolate chips 1 tsp. salt 1 tbsp. baking powder 1 tbsp. vanilla extract 1 tbsp. almond extract ½ c. sugar 1 c. dark brown sugar, packed ½ c. salted butter, browned


To brown the butter, it must be salted butter. Heat it in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes light brown in color. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes before combining it with the other ingredients. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl, by hand, until well mixed. Pour the batter into an oiled, 8 in. baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and fifteen minutes. Allow to cool for fifteen minutes before serving. Enjoy!

My Romance with Romance

My Romance with Romance
It feels strange for me to admit that I had only started reading romance novels about six months before I started writing my book. Of course I had read one or two, but I had always considered them to be super fluff, cheesy, consumable writing that didn’t have any real relevance. That was what my writing teachers had spent years training me to believe. The older I get the stronger my will becomes to do everything exactly the opposite of what I was taught to do when I was young. All of my teachers in childhood were wrong approximately ninety percent of the time…about everything.
Yes, a lot of romance novels are incredibly fluffy. Consider what most people are doing with their downtime anyhow. People spend their evenings watching “reality shows” about people who make duck whistles I think. Even though the typical romance novel isn’t a deeply intellectual piece of literature, it is still doing a lot more for me when I read it than I can possibly imagine the duck s…